At graduation ceremonies, the faculty cheers harder for some graduates than others. The kids who struggled, hitting academic and personal speed bumps along the way, receive rousing ovations from their teachers and advisers. It’s not necessarily that they are more happy for them; it’s a sense of relief because they weren’t always sure this would happen. They feel like they’ve gone through a lot with that student, perhaps butting heads with them along the way.
I wonder if that is how the Colorado Rockies feel about Jhoulys Chacin. He has struggled and they have fought with one another. It was certainly held in doubt whether or not Chacin would ever reach his potential or succeed with the Rockies. And while starting opening day is far from a guarantee that he will accomplish anything this season, there will still be that mixed emotion of relief/pride at the sight of him striding to the mound to open the 2013 season.
Chacin’s spring has been up and down. He has been hit hard at times and did not pitch particularly well for Team Venezuela at the World Baseball Classic. Thankfully he enjoyed enough success at the end of last season to put our minds at ease. It is enough to know that he is healthy and happy to be with the Rockies as April 1st approaches.
This announcement also means that Jeff Francis is slotted in to start the home opener on April 5th against the San Diego Padres. This is also a nice story. When the Rockies gave Francis another shot in the middle of last season, his career was teetering on the brink of what perhaps looked like the end. There might always be teams willing to take a chance on a left-handed starter, but there probably were not many opportunities left for him. The Rockies were likely his last Major League opportunity before Francis became a soft-tossing minor league journeyman. The fact that he came full circle for that chance and has taken advantage of it is an enjoyable story, especially because Francis comes off as gracious and classy. So I am happy for him, no matter how badly he gets shelled this year.